Former world champion Pauline Ferrand-Prevot will return to cyclo-cross racing this winter after a two-year absence. The 25-year-old confirmed on social media that she will ride the DVV Verzekeringen Trofee in Essen this weekend and hopes to compete until the national championships in January.
Ferrand-Prevot wrote on Twitter on Tuesday evening: "I will be back in the Cx races this WE in Belgium. Happy to be back in this discipline after 2 years without Cx. I don't have expectation but I just want to have fun. My plan for the moment is to go until the nationals. Thanks @WMNcycling @canyon_bikes @SRAMroad for make it happen."
The Frenchwoman won the cyclo-cross world title in January 2015, beating Sanne Cant in a sprint, much to the dissatisfaction of the Belgian. She had already become road race world champion and mountain bike team relay world champion the season before. A solid road and mountain bike campaign followed – she would defend her team relay title and add the cross country title at the mountain bike World Championships later that year – but it would be the last time that she would race cyclo-cross.
Ferrand-Prevot has battled injuries over the past few seasons, and a training crash left her with a broken tibia in November 2015 and put paid to her whole cyclo-cross season. She raced just nine days the following season, with fourth at the Pajot Hills Classic and national championships, and eighth at the Tour of Flanders the highlight of her road season. Her big goal, the Olympic Games in Rio, was, in her own words, a nightmare.
Problems with her sciatic nerve also troubled her and her time on the mountain bike was also minimal, with the national cross country title the only thing she could call a true success. She skipped the cyclo-cross season last winter to pool her focus on the road and mountain bike. Ferrand-Prevot raced a sparse road programme again this season but it brought much more promising results, with second at Plouay and eighth at Amstel Gold. Her mountain bike season also brought some success with a number of race wins.